A decade ago, Michael Moore’s film Bowling for Columbine highlighted the issue of guns in the US in the most precise and documented way. With clever camerawork and extensive reporting, by examining factors such as poverty and unemployment, by documenting how easily a child today can have access to bullets and weapons and by filming on location of a massacre in the deprived area of Columbine, he exposed the US for how it is and compared it to its neighbour Canada in terms of fear, safety and guns.
The recent massacre of innocent people in Orlando, Florida brought back to the surface the pathogenesis of American society as well as part of the western governance of the planet. This tragic event will be a turning point for the global LGBT community. Is it however time to draw some clear conclusions?
ISIS is a world wide, criminal organization. ISIS is not a state no matter what it declares or because of the violent occupation of certain territories by its assassins. ISIS is neither Islamic nor fundamentalist Islamic even if it invokes this religion. Whether the West carries responsibility for the burgeoning of ISIS – it certainly does as the various forms of funding and weapons from both the US and some European states have been proved – is a very serious discussion but it should not be the predominant one today. The existing responsibility is not collective and this rule applies both to the West and to the Islamic world.
Modern monotheistic religions condemn homosexuality either as a mental disorder or as criminal behavior against the predominant “principles” of society. We all remember the recent, hate-inciting way of speaking by some distinguished hierarchs of the Greek Orthodox Church on the occasion of the introduction of the civil partnership law. The isolated and therefore selective reference to respective imams of Islam, at the current juncture, should leave us with second thoughts about its feasibility.
On the other hand, the FBI’s statistical data show that LGBT people in the US is the most vulnerable group in terms of hate attacks; more vulnerable even than African-americans and Jews. LGBT people are mainly vulnerable to right-wing groups (supremacists) and this is a dominant problem that the global LGBT community should highlight.
Furthermore, Harvard University’s Researchers recorded that from 2000 to date, approximately half a million US citizens have lost their lives either by massive attacks and killings in various gathering places (university campuses, clubs, etc.) or by simple homicides and suicides with the use of a weapon or weapons. President Obama, with repeated proclamations, has highlighted the law on free gun ownership as a major problem. Just as he has this time round while leading a constant struggle to bend the will of Republicans in Congress.
The murderer in Orlando, actually the serial killer in Orlando was an American citizen of Afghan origin, Muslim by religion and extremely homophobic as was stated by his own father. Moreover, the FBI has been leaking information about his involvement in ISIS. The issue here is of course his crime and not his beliefs or phobias. Fifty people were killed and several more are at death’s door. Because of free gun ownership in the US, such hate crimes are possible. The global LGBT community needs to highlight this.
We in the LGBT community are experiencing a profound and collective homophobia. Today’s global outcry is not comparable to the respective cases of massacres at the Charlie Hebdo magazine, the Bataclan theatre or Brussels Airport. Neither hashtags nor rainbow flags appeared on social networks profiles in Europe and America, at least not with the same intensity. It is very likely the massacre at the Pulse club in Orlando will be forgotten in the near future. The responsibility lies with the global LGBT community to emphasize the hidden hypocrisy in Western societies. As far as I am concerned, Orlando is equally close to me and I repeat every statement I have, on other occasions, declared publicly.
Let’s not forget that there is no big distance between the sales of guns and hamburgers. If you are the number 1 country in terms of military equipment sales for years, if your gross revenues from selling guns is something like 11 billion dollars per year, then, in order to continue at that pace you need fear, insecurity, a continuous invisible threat, racism, hate, and terrorists as a vehicle for your sales. If the enemy is invisible then it is cost-effective to create one, to arm and afterwards to “manipulate” him appropriately. Some collateral damage, in and outside your borders, is also cost-effective.